With plastic bags banned and no alternatives readily available,the Delhi Government has decided to do the next best thing: make provisions for selling eco-friendly bags.
The Department of Environment has taken over a stall at Dilli Haat,Pitampura,on permanent basis to ensure supply of jute bags for now.
Following a High Court order last year,the Delhi Government had banned the use of plastic bags in major commercial areas on January 7,and had specified that if no alternatives,bio-degradable plastic bags be used in smaller commercial areas.
As reported by Newsline on Friday,the Confederation of Indian Traders had called for a stay on the ban,as no other bags were easily available.
The traders had said in the absence of cheaply available bags,the cost of commodities will go up.
However,with the stall at Dilli Haat,the Delhi Government is ensuring supply of environment-friendly bags.
We had decided to open the stall a while ago. But with the plastic bag ban in place,selling eco-friendly bags will be a priority, an official from the Department of Environment said. A jute bag with a capacity of 3-4 kg is priced at Rs 25.
We are giving the stall to NGOs free of cost for selling eco-friendly bags. At present,Greenforum,a self-help womens group from West Bengal,is selling jute bags from the stall. They have provision to sell 3 lakh bags, Environment Secretary J K Dadoo said.
However,environmentalists maintain the only way to implement the ban is to encourage customers to carry their own bags.
People have to carry their own eco-friendly bags. The notification on the plastic bag bans the use of plastic,so if the Government wishes,it may penalise even people carrying plastic bags, environmentalist Vinod Jain,a petitioner in the HC case on plastics,said.
The government is also working on a bigger action plan,which will involve RWAs,to ban plastic bags. Some RWAs have already showed interest in making their own eco-friendly bags.
Sarita Vihar RWA has created a group called Sambhav,which is working on making cloth bags. They will make around 200 bags a day and distribute them to the local shopkeepers, Dadoo said.